A few of us have been fooling around this month, while Sunday School is on hiatus, with worship bulletins for kids. It’s got all the same stuff as the standard bulletin, only with some prompts for kids added in: draw a picture here of what you think the Bible story might have looked like; what is something you’re thankful for this week; did anything in today’s service confuse you?
We’re adding in some activity sheets from Illustrated Children’s Ministry too.
I’ve learned a few things with this experiment.
- Collaborating with people who do children’s ministry is fun.
- Design is a big deal. We have a crack team of people who design our bulletins (and all the other church communication pieces), and they’re gooooood.
- These are for kids. We thought originally that the activity sheets would work for younger children and the special bulletins would help youth, like maybe up to 8th grade, but that’s not turning out. Youth older than, say, 5th grade aren’t taking them. Which is fine. It reminds me of my previous experiment with acolytes in worship, where 3rd-5th graders were really into it, but interest tailed off after that.
- The conversation prompts we thought were for middle schoolers are being taken up by children. The mother of a fourth grader told me on Sunday that her daughter kept asking her questions throughout the service, which she’s never done before.
- Curiosity is its own goal. Getting kids to ask questions and wonder about things in worship is a win. We asked a question about baptism in the bulletin: “Were you baptized? Do you or your parents remember it?” A child came up to me after the service and asked, “What happens if you don’t get baptized?” The asking of that question means the bulletins are doing their job.
Sunday School starts up in September, and it runs at the same time as worship, so we won’t be doing these kids bulletins each week. But I think we’ve definitely hit upon a valuable tool for helping kids experience worship with their parents. That’s really all we were after.